Reports: Two Premier League clubs lodge official bids for Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi could walk out of Barcelona... and it's not just Manchester City who are interested
What's the story?
Despite the best efforts of Josep Bartomeu to placate his Barcelona fans that Lionel Messi's contract was as good as signed, the cold hard truth is that the contract remains in the air - and that Messi is free to sign a pre-contract with anyone under the sun come January as per the Bosman rule.
Taking full advantage of this - say the Express - Chelsea and Manchester City have both lodged official bids to prise away Messi from the club he has played for the duration of his professional career.
In case you didn't know...
"We will take the photo with Messi's signature, hopefully before the end of the year, but the contract has been signed by his father, who has the power of his image rights," said Bartomeu earlier this year. "This contract is signed until 2021 and he is already playing under it."
Yes, because Leo Messi can't find the 'time' to go sign a piece of paper and have his photo taken at the same time... at the place he goes to every single day as a part of his job.
The heart of the matter
This reassurance from Bartomeu would have been far more reassuring were it not for the fact that he had said the very same thing about Neymar Jr. and his father (Neymar Sr.) weeks before the Brazilian shattered the football transfer record whilst moving to Paris Saint-Germain.
With Pep Guardiola ever in awe of his favourite footballer, he'd move heaven and earth to get Messi on his side once again, wouldn't he?
Any excuse to watch Leo Messi do magic with a football:
What a joy to watch, eh?
As it stands Lionel Messi is a Barcelona player and it's almost impossible to imagine him playing football in anything but Argentina Albiceleste and Barcelona Blaugrana.
But the possibility exists, and with the Catalans more dependant on Messi than ever before, it is vital that the Argentine sign the contract as soon as possible. Imagine him walking out on a free and joining up with either City or Chelsea... now, that would be positively earth-shattering.